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How to Maximize Your Gold Recovery Returns

Dust in your store can reap unexpected rewards. In day-to-day activities like buffing, polishing, grinding, and so on, fine metal dust spreads around your workspace.

Collecting this accumulation of dust and precious metal amounts to a considerable return that can put money back in your pocket.

Here are a few easy ways to get the most out of your gold recovery:

Keep It Inside

A bench mat is essential to keeping your workspace clean and tidy. This can help to collect small bits of precious metals and prevents debris from falling onto the floor and getting scattered.

Also, the sticky adhesive of a Gold Mat placed at the entrance/exit of your work area will capture bits of gold and precious metal, helping you gather the tiny fragments on the bottom of your shoes.

TIP: To maximize your returns, keep different grades of metal scraps separated for refining.

Keep Your Sweeps

Keep cutoff/separating wheel pieces, old flex-shaft buffs, brushes, etc. and throw them in with the floor sweeps.

  • Designate filings and trimmings from stone setting and seat cutting, for example, as clean filings.
  • Use your bench mat to collect finishing wheel debris, buffings, pumice wheel, and other pre-finishing wheel debris. Keep this separate from your clean filings.
  • Keep old buffing wheels, used sandpaper, and anything else you think might contain gold. It probably does!

Buy a Dust Collector

Rather than a traditional vacuum cleaner, use a Variable Speed Dust Collector with disposable bags to vacuum shop floors. This ensures the collection of 99.9% of debris and traps particles (down to 0.3 microns in size) in its collection chambers.

Save the filled bags, and keep them with your floor sweeps. These bags can contain a substantial amount of gold in the form of small solder snippings, filings, cut-off disc powders, small pieces from ring sizing, etc. that can all be sent to your refiner.

TIP: Vacuum your buffer daily. It helps keep the shop neat and decreases buffing dust from falling to the floor.

Don’t Forget the Ultrasonic Solution

Use a rinse bucket to rinse items coming from the ultrasonic. Also, bottle your old ultrasonic solution, settle it out, and pour off the clear top liquids. The sludge can be dried out and returned to your refiner with the buffing dust. Yield is typically about the same as buffing dust.

Drain Sweeper Installation

Don’t let your gold wash down the drain!

By investing in a drain sweeper, you can capture precious metal sediment that would otherwise be flushed down the pipes.

A Stuller tools study revealed that after nearly six weeks of using the drain sweeper, 0.082 ounces of gold were recovered, equating to roughly $77.67 at $947.25 gold. A product like this will pay for itself.

Crucible Care is Crucial

If you cast, rinse out your quench tank/bucket and pour off the suspended used investment.

  • Keep the bottom sludge and put it in with the floor sweeps. This can contain a good amount of gold debris.
  • Save old melting and casting crucibles and return with the floor sweeps as well; these also contain a good amount of finely divided gold particles.

More Ways to Maximize Gold Recovery Returns

  • Save your filters, including those from air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and dust collectors. These can contain a good amount of fine gold dust from buffing.
  • Segregate gold by karat from ring sizings and such. If kept separate, you can remelt and roll these pieces out to make sizing stock, wire, etc. You’ll get a higher return if the karatage of your gold bits is known.
  • Save gold-filled and gold-plated pieces, along with silver watch batteries (throw out NiCd batteries; they have no value). These may have a small amount of gold, but anything saved helps pay bills.

Approximate Gold Recovery Yieldsgold recovery

Clean Filings: Approximately 40% fine gold by weight

Dirty Bench Sweeps: Approximately 5% to 20% fine gold by weight

Buffing Dust: Approximately 2% fine gold by weight

Floor Sweeps (including vacuum cleaner bags): Approximately 1% by weight


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 10, 2016.




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Celebrating Jewelry Artisans in National Craft Month

March is National Craft Month, a time to explore the arts we’re passionate about. At Stuller, it’s an ideal time to celebrate the craftsmen who built the jewelry industry over centuries, using only the most basic tools. These goldsmiths, lapidaries, engravers, designers, and other jewelry artisans developed techniques that are still practiced today.

Like most trades that involve skilled hand work, the jewelry industry is full of second- and third-generation jewelers — some with even longer legacies. Stuller is proud to have many such craftsmen in house helping to improve our business every day.

Here are some ways to take advantage of the buzz around National Craft Month for your own jewelry business.

 

Share the Craft

The Hobby Industry Association (now the Association for Creative Industries) started National Craft Month in 1994 to encourage creativity. More than 25 years later, it is still thriving and has become an opportunity for us to learn new crafts, return to ones we’ve enjoyed in the past, and share our skills with others. It’s an ideal time to start teaching a child or teen age-appropriate jewelry skills, to pass down those centuries of knowledge and start building the next generation of craftsmen. Along with marketable skills that could lead to a potential career and the joy of a fun pastime, sharing a craft means sharing the many health benefits attributed to crafting.

Crafty Marketing

There’s a growing trend in marketing toward storytelling, especially when marketing to millennials, who are said to value pieces with a story. Sharing the techniques and background behind handcrafted pieces helps customers connect with them better. Take full advantage of National Craft Month by inviting bench jewelers, lapidaries, engravers, and other artisans you work with or who live in your area to demonstrate their skills at your store. Have contests, trunk shows, and other in-store events and promotions to build relationships with the community throughout March.

Tools of Our Trade

One trait that craftspeople share is a love of tools. While our hands are our most important tools, hammers, files, and other hand tools are essential to craftspeople, especially ones who still practice traditional techniques. Most bench jewelers combine the old and the new into an efficient operation, the best of both worlds. If your shop has gone primarily high-tech, why not explore some old-school tools and techniques this month? You might be surprised at how doing a familiar task in a new way can spark your creativity.

 National Crafting Month Planishing Hammer National Crafting Month Needle Files National Crafting Month GRS Ball Vise
            37-1605         31-68000              26-4167

 

Practice Other Crafts with Stuller

Sure, we deal with laser welders and high-tech jewelry equipment. But we know there’s just as great a need for the other jewelry tools and supplies used by bench jewelers and other craftsmen. Where would pearl strands be without bead stringing and knotting tools? How could ring bands be cut and sized without saws and saw blades? Remember the humble beginnings of the jewelry industry this month and practice your craft!

 National Crafting Month Bench Pin National Crafting Month Crimp Bead Pack  National Crafting Month Cutter Pliers National Craft Month Sawblades
  13-3000        24143          46-4013        49-4204

 

 


What are the must-have items on your list for crafting? Let us know in the comments below!




Celebrate National Worship of Tools Day

If you’ve paid attention to your calendar and love obscure holidays, you may be ahead of the pack and know what today is. But if you don’t know, it’s March 11, which means today is one pretty fantastic day:

National Worship of Tools Day!

 

While we love to splurge on new bench tools, you should also keep the ones in your workspace in working order. Here are some simple ways to extend the life of your tools to keep your workflow moving, just in time for National Worship of Tools Day:

Clean Regularly

Taking time to thoroughly clean what you use most at the bench will help protect against long-term damage. It doesn’t have to take a long time, but getting in the habit will go a long way.

This includes checking any blades or smaller pieces that contribute to your machine working correctly. It also won’t hurt to polish those blades and use a soft wire brush to clean between the teeth. Add in dusting time to sweep away filings as well as general cleanup.

     
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Lubricate Tools

Whether it’s to extend the life of your tools or reduce friction and heat buildup, proper lubrication is crucial. Friction from using the tools can slow down gears, dry out belts, and more. Use tool-appropriate lubricants to reduce friction, prevent dust particles from getting in shafts and joints, and more.

                 
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Keep the Habit Going

Cleaning an item once or twice is great, but forming the habit of adding maintenance to your work routine is key.

Want a more detailed listing of how often to care for your tools? Create a schedule for yourself to ensure you stay on top of maintenance. Here’s an example from our bench team of some small things you can do frequently to keep your tools happy:

Daily

Handpiece: Check both outer and inner springs. They shouldn’t bend more than 45 degrees. Replace springs as needed.

Weekly

Flex shaft: Check the motor brushes and shaft to ensure they are working properly. Oil the sheath. A well-running flex-shaft is like a smooth-running engine.

Ultrasonic: Check water levels. Collect the sludge in the tank for refining. Wipe it clean.

Every Other Week

Bench: Clean your bench. Collect and separate sweeps. Use a refining bag for clippings and a trash bag for dust.

Polishing Unit: Empty and clean out the bags. (The three filters in this unit need to be changed every six to eight months, so schedule accordingly.)

Dust Collector: Wash the pre-filter, which is wrapped around the unit.

Monthly

Files: Use a wire brush to clean and collect debris from files.

Plating Solutions: Clean and filter the solutions. Remember to keep a cap on the solutions at all times.

Every Other Month

Dust Collector: Wash the large filter.

Steamer: To clean the unit, blow it out to 5 psi and release. Check the glass tube and washers, which can thin out from running water through the machine, and replace if needed. Wear safety glasses and gloves when performing this maintenance task.


So, how are you gonna celebrate National Worship of Tools Day? Have any tips and tricks for extending the lifespan of your bench tools? Let us know in the comments below!




tumbling media

Tumbling Media for Jewelry: Finding the Right One

You’ve heard of tumbling media for finishing jewelry; you’ve probably even used it. But there are many kinds, and each one has characteristics that make it better suited for one type of project, finish, or tumbler.

This handy guide, featured in From the Bench’s Repair Issue, will help you make the right choice and achieve better results with your jewelry.

What’s the Difference?

Tumbling media abrades against your jewelry to remove unwanted material. Applications include deburring, polishing, burnishing, and removing fire scale. Create your desired surface finish by choosing media based on characteristics like size, shape, and composition.

Tumbling Media 1: Stainless Steel Pins

Stainless steel pins leave a semi-bright finish in a short amount of time, perfect for use right after casting. Use stainless steel pins with a magnetic tumbler, along with Stuller’s finishing soap.

47-5055 stainless steel pins

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Tumbling Media 2: Treated Walnut Shell

This media can be used on all metals to produce an excellent mirror finish. Use it in a vibratory or barrel tumbler.

47-5216 treated walnut shell

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Tumbling Media 3: White Pyramids

These plastic, pyramid-shaped media have a medium-cut surface and produce a very fine cut surface conditioning. They’re best for soft metals, to leave a smooth finish with little shine. Use these in a vibratory or barrel tumbler.

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Tumbling Media 4: Stainless Steel Mixed Shot

Stainless steel shot is rust- and corrosion-resistant, requires no special storage, and is ideal for use in wet, flow-through systems. Used in a vibratory or barrel tumbler, this stainless-steel shot leaves pieces bright and clean, burnishing metals to a mirror finish.

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Tumbling Media 5: Porcelain Balls

Because of their shape, 2-mm porcelain balls impart a single point of contact, leaving a very fine finish to almost any area it reaches. It’s very popular for delicate parts, fine-edge blanking, and precious metal burnishing. Use them in a vibratory or barrel tumbler to create a bright finish with less distortion.

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Tumbling Media 6: Brown Pyramids

These plastic, pyramid-shaped media have a medium-cut surface and produce very fine surface conditioning. These pyramids are best for soft metals, to leave a smooth finish with little shine. Use them in a vibratory or barrel tumbler.

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Tumbling Media 7: Ceramic Polyhedrons

Ceramic is the heaviest tumbling media and the fastest finisher. Its polyhedron shape is great for grinding and polishing hard metals. It’s also good for deburring machined, casted, and fabricated parts. Use it in a vibratory or barrel tumbler.

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Explore tumbling media, other finishing tools and supplies, plus talk to experts and more during Stuller’s Bench Jeweler Workshop, March 27-28, 2020. Register by February 17 to take advantage of early-bird pricing.




Platinum Questions Answered Blog Header

Stuller’s Top 5 Platinum Questions Answered

What’s not to love about platinum? It’s the densest of the precious metals, can stand up to a lifetime of everyday wear, and is even hypoallergenic, making it a perfect pick for any bride. Take the time to become a platinum expert. As you master working with platinum, you can also teach the merits of why it may be the better choice for your customer’s lifestyle, earning trust and ensuring a return to your store.

 

Here are a few popular platinum questions answered–

 

platinum questions answered smelting grain

1. What is the melting temperature of platinum and popular platinum alloys?

Here is one of our top platinum questions answered:

Pure Platinum: 3215°F (1768°C)

Pt950/Ruthenium: 3236°F – 3263°F (1780°C – 1795°C)

Pt950/Cobalt: 3015°F – 3050°F (1657°C – 1677°C)

Pt900/Iridium: 3236°F – 3272°F (1780°C – 1800°C)

2. Which solder should I use?

Platinum melts at a high temperature, which may cause diamonds to frost over when exposed to such extreme heat. Because of this, we recommend that all stones be removed when welding or soldering with platinum solder on a platinum ring.

When Joining Two Platinum Metals:

  • Platinum iridium to platinum iridium – weld
  • Platinum ruthenium to platinum ruthenium – weld
  • Platinum ruthenium to platinum iridium  – weld
  • Platinum cobalt has a lower melt point than platinum ruthenium or platinum iridium, it cannot be welded to either PtRu or PtIr
  • If gold is melted into a platinum surface, remove the gold with a ball bur and fill it with platinum wire

Tip: When in doubt, solder

3. What type of fuel do I use when working with Platinum?

Propane or natural gas is the best option for working with Platinum. These fuels burn cleaner and will not contaminate your platinum. Acetylene fuel is not recommended.

platinum questions answered torch

4. Should I use flux?

Avoid the use of flux when joining platinum alloys. However, flux may be used when joining platinum alloys to gold alloys.

5. Which sandpaper grit is best for removing dents and scratches from a platinum ring?

360-400-500 abrasive paper

 


A few tips and tricks:

Try using Redi-Prongs® Platinum Round Retipping Kit to retip prongs around certain colored stones and diamonds. Simply flatten the surface of the prong that you want to retip using a small file. Then, heat the area and attach a prong cap (Redi-prong comes with pre-applied solder). Polish the prong and you are done.

What people don’t always know is—

Platinum cobalt sticks to magnets due to its cobalt content. It should be kept segregated from other bench sweeps. Also, a magnet can be used to determine if a platinum jewelry item is made from platinum cobalt.

Polishing tip

When polishing jewelry that has both platinum and gold components, be sure the platinum is polished completely before polishing the gold. Gold polishes faster than platinum, so it is easy to over-polish the gold portion and ruin the piece.

platinum questions answered polishing

Did you know: We use three different types of platinum here at Stuller—

Pt Alloy

Casting

Fabrication

Die Striking

Machining

90Pt/10Ir Satisfactory Excellent Excellent Poor
95Pt/5Co Excellent Good Good Good
95Pt/5Ru Good Excellent Excellent Excellent

 

Laser Welders like the Rofin Basic XE-Power 100 Joule (14-0110) are the best for working with platinum, saving time for your shop and increasing productivity, capabilities, and profits. This investment will pay for itself in no time.


Find more tips on working with platinum here.

Anything we missed? If you have a question, let us know in the comments below. We’ll work to help you get the answers you need.




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Meet Jonathan Smiddy – The Returning Competitor

Jonathan Smiddy Battle of the Benches HeadshotThis year’s Battle of the Benches® competition is right around the corner, kicking off March 24th. Among the contestants is Jonathan Smiddy, a seasoned jewelsmith with over twenty-two years of experience under his belt. A bench jeweler at Robson’s Diamond Jewelers in Baytown, Texas, he spends his days repairing precious pieces and helping clients to create beautiful jewelry.

As a graduate of the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology, Jonathan Smiddy knew he wanted to be a bench jeweler right out of high school after taking interest in Indian handy crafts. “I’m a real classic kind of person. I like Art Noveau. I like Art Deco,” he explains. “So in most of my stuff, I sample a lot of those lines and a lot of French curves.” Jonathan’s passion entails building new and exciting pieces while his specialty lies in creating unique designs that end as exquisite works of art.

After participating in last year’s competition, Jonathan knows the ropes. He has a pretty good idea of what’s in store, having been there and done that. Does this give him a leg up on the competition? We’ll see! We surely expect Jonathon to bring his calm and collected demeanor along with his talent and creativity. The greatest challenge he faces in his day-to-day is meeting impossible deadlines. “Yet, somehow it always happens,” he says. And according to Jonathan, he works best under pressure. This is quite a fitting strength for the competition.

Jonathan Smiddy Battle of the Benches Pendant

Jonathan’s pendant from Battle of the Benches 2016

When it came down to scoping out last year’s competition, Jonathan had this to say: “It’s been really interesting, especially with the other jewelers. There’s lots of really good talent on the panel.” His only real concern, however, was aiming to set all of his stones in time.

In day one of the competition, Jonathan created a CAD design and model of a cocktail ring inspired by a customer profile. Day two brought about the Parts & Pieces Challenge where participants were given a box of “stuff” and tasked with creating a unique piece of jewelry. Jonathan created a sleek, modern pendant.

On the third and final day of the event, attendees visited any additional classes they might have missed. They walked the demo floor and even met with our technical folks. The final challenge also took place. This time, the task was to prep, polish, assemble, and set the now casted CAD design from the first day’s competition. Jonathan took the prize in this event with an amazing three stone cocktail ring featuring a blue center and pink accents.

When he’s not busy at the store, he enjoys visiting museums, camping, spending time with family and attending church. His favorite part of being a jeweler so far is having the opportunity to create wedding bands for himself and his wife.

Here’s a shot of Jonathan hard at work in last year’s competition, along with a few select pieces of his work-

Jonathan Smiddy Battle of the Benches Pendant Jonathan Smiddy Battle of the Benches Pendant Jonathan Smiddy Battle of the Benches Focus

“The leftmost image is a 9 carat Tanzanite pendant with .5 carats of side diamonds. It turned out absolutely stunningly and the story behind it is even better!” Jonathan reports. “I also really loved building the piece centered above. It’s a competition piece I designed featuring lapis, diamond, tsavorite garnet, and synthetic padparadscha accents.” 


Check out Jyothi Forman and David Adamson, two of Jonathan Smiddy’s competitors in this year’s Battle of the Benches® competition.




Meet David Adamson – The Defending Champ

Our first Battle of the Benches® competition played host to over 200 jewelers from around the country and three days of excitement, education and an exhilarating jewelry-making challenge. David Adamson came into the competition calm and collected. He was anxious, but not nervous. He was eager to participate and awaited the opportunity to compete and exhibit his hard work.

 

Round 1: Create a CAD Design

David Adamson Battle of the Bench Wax Model Round 1In the first challenge, contestants were given a customer profile to inspire their ring designs. David observed his prospect and was steered toward what he imagined she would like. “The general shape of the ring followed the shape of her handbag and shoes, and the scrollwork followed the clef in her violin and the waves of the sea,” David explained. He decided to keep the overall design simple.

When it comes to customization, David prefers to use RhinoGold. He enjoys the software’s simplicity, intuitiveness and ease of use. David’s career as a jeweler began at the bench rather than as a CAD jeweler, which led to his gravitation toward RhinoGold software.

David Adamson Battle of the Bench Circus Pendant Round 2

 

Round 2: The Parts & Pieces Challenge

In the second challenge, participants were given a box of “stuff.” Upon opening his box, David immediately noticed the red and blue gemstones and imagined a lively circus! From this idea, he created a fun and exciting pendant with a balloon shape and wavy form. Of the three challenges, this was David’s favorite. “Honestly, this is what I like to do. I like fabrication and handwork. It’s what I grew up doing. This is the part I enjoy even more than CAD!”

 

Round 3: Bringing it all Together 

IDavid Adamson Battle of the Bench Final Ring Round 3n the final challenge, the CAD designs from round one were casted and participants prepped, polished, assembled and set their rings. David took second prize in this contest.

After all the votes were counted, David Adamson won three of the four possible prizes, including the Grand Prize, at our inaugural Battle of the Benches. When asked about what helped him succeed in the contest, he pointed to the lessons of an early mentor, jeweler Jay Harold, whose favorite phrase was, “make do”: “This helped me to be able to adapt to whatever tools were handy and ‘make do.’”

David first developed a love for the trade working alongside his father in the family store at the age of 16. Starting from the bottom taught David all the important skills that every bench jeweler needs to succeed. Today, he is the proud owner of David Adamson Designer Jewelry. Being in the jewelry industry for 39 years taught David how to adapt to change. He knows it’s a new, ever-growing retail landscape and he’s constantly attending CAD training seminars and technology fairs to stay abreast of current changes.

When not at the bench, David loves to help people study the Bible. He also likes to sail, snow ski, travel, and hang out with his beautiful wife, kids, and gorgeous granddaughter.

 

The dazzling piece below is a six inch long solid gold object d’art of a nude. It is suspended by flowing waves of silver and supports a cherry Mexican fire opal star in her outstretched hands. The star is removable and can be worn as a pendant.

David Adamson Design Mexican Fire Topaz

David Adamson Engagement Set Emerald Cut

This gorgeous 14k white gold diamond wedding set features an emerald cut center stone surrounded by sixty-four round brilliant cut diamonds.

David Adamson and Wife at Battle of the Bench Competition

David and his beautiful wife


Which of the pieces above is your favorite? Searching for more about David Adamson? Click here.  




Organize Your Bench

An organized shop is a more efficient one. How much time do you waste daily looking for tools? If you don’t think you do, log your actions for a day. Are you surprised? You can completely control misplaced tools by assigning each a designated space. Now label the location so you can easily spot when anything is out of place.

  • Keep accessories and consumable goods stored within easy reach of their coordinating equipment.
  • Use compartmentalized boxes to organize quick-turn repair needs: earring backs, lobster clasps, spring rings, jump rings, imitation birthstones, fabricated metals, etc.
  • Bench top organizers can help maintain an orderly bench all within easy reach.
  • Store extra buffs and rouges in drawers at your polishing station.
  • Keep your burs organized and labeled in one of our handy bur holders.

The bench is your foundation. While no jeweler’s bench is exactly like another, these suggestions ensure you’ve fully optimized your workspace in a way that works best for you.

 

Foredom® Bench System: A Must-Have

The Foredom® Bench System brings ultimate organization to your workspace. The raised swinging arm attachments allow for quick and easy tool storage and eliminate bench-top clutter, all while keeping necessities within your reach. The add-on options for this gadget are endless: from a pivoting LED light bar, an accessory tray, a bur holder, a double sided magnetic tool arm or a double motor hanger, just to name a few. This tool system will transform your effectiveness at the bench while the endless accessory options allow for step-by-step additions that won’t break your budget.

 


Bur Holders

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Compartmental Storage

Fill these handy drawers with different types of findings, stringing materials, solder chips, and anything else to get the job done. This clear-view tray with magnetic closure includes 24 vials with swing-top lids. This utility cabinet features 60 drawers to keep small parts separate and easy to find. The one piece frame even has keyhole slots for wall mounting.
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Plier Holders

This plastic plier rack keeps them organized, accessible and easy to identify. Hang pliers, screwdrivers, and other miscellaneous metal tools with this magnetic tool holder. It holds tools securely in place with permanent magnets and mounts with screws. This wooden plier rack with drawer holds your pliers, has a small shelf for tools and a storage drawer to keep your necessities at hand.
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Tool Storage

This wood carryall features a plier bar, hooks, a place for wire and cord spools, a tabletop ruler and a top shelf for all holding tools. Keep tools handy and organized while clearing your work area with this tool holder. This tool storage enables you to store all of them easily and find them quickly. This bench top organizer fits perfectly on your bench or work table. It contains space for findings, tools, and accessories and organizes it all with four drawers for stowaway items.
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Time-Savers

With a 6″ reach in any direction, this adjustable swing arm’s exclusive design, developed here at Stuller, gives you an extra hand when setting or engraving. When set in the adjustable swing arm, this Microblock Ball Vise’s compact design simplifies microscope work. Use it for engraving, stone setting,  and other precision work. The Little Torch™ Magnetic Holder keeps your torch near your bench and is particularly helpful as you change your tip repeatedly throughout the day.

 


What are other ways you keep your bench organized and tidy? Tag us in your pictures on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest or share with us in the comments below!

 

Want to clean up your workspace while maximizing your returns? Read more about dust collectors for your bench here. As always, reach our tools tech team at 800-877-7777 ext. 4300 or find more on setting up your shop at stuller.com/shop-setup.




My Workshop Experience – Oscar Noel Garcia

old-mine-oscar-casting

My father Oscar, casting

I am Oscar “Noel” Garcia, co-owner with my father, Oscar Garcia, of Old Mine Jewelers in San Antonio, Texas. Beginning in Mexico, my family has been in the jewelry industry for three generations. Combined, we have 60 years of experience. Our business has grown from a successful neighborhood store, to one with city and statewide recognition.

I began working alongside my father about five years ago. Before that, I was in the technology field, electronics and networking. I came into the family business to do CAD design to help keep the business going. I’ve been enjoying it ever since!

With our many years of experience, we offer traditional techniques and state of the art technology to fuel our designs. Because we perform all of our work in-house, we can provide the best support and ensure the most advanced and competitively priced jewelry service available in the area.  We have also manufactured highly acclaimed masterpieces. Over the years, local customers and other Jewelers turn to us for custom work.

 

A few custom pieces we’ve designed • See more of our work here
old-mine-pendent1 old-mine-ring2 old-mine-ring1 old-mine-ring3

 

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Championship rings for a local billiards league

Old Mine Jewelry is a full-service store; we do it all. I like to tell visitors, “We do everything under the sun when it comes to Jewelry.” In addition to producing custom designs for our customers and other stores here in San Antonio, we perform repairs on all jewelry, watches and clocks. Our specialization ranges from simple, traditional pieces all the way to the most modern and exquisite designs you can imagine. To fulfill our customers’ jewelry vision, we strive to exceed their wants and needs. Because we are family owned and operated, we have and always will offer our services at competitive prices.old-mine-emblem

We keep a homey retail storefront, so customers feel comfortable visiting our store. After 25 years, we recently moved our location which has been a challenge for us. However, we know things will work themselves out. We constantly aim to offer the best value and service for our merchandise and to treat our customers with dignity and respect. The smiles and sense of joy from all of our clients tell the real story behind our work. It makes this line of business so fulfilling and enjoyable. The sophisticated creations of Old Mine Jewelry, together with personalized service and support, have made it a business recognized for its excellence in innovative efforts, outstanding success, and exceptionally fast growth.

Our store mascots, Roman & Toby 
old-mine-pets oscarpet

In April 2016, I visited Bench Jeweler Workshop at Stuller’s headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana. I first heard about the workshop from a Stuller email and immediately I knew I had to attend. I have been learning all I can about jewelry design and production, for one day this store will be solely mine, and I won’t always have my father’s guidance at hand. Going to the workshop, I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing I could relate to was attending the Gemvision Symposiums with classes held throughout the day.

Bench Jeweler Workshop had a similar structure and feel as past learning seminars. I would describe the event as very informative and laid back. If you have questions about something you can likely find the answer here, from the classes or a vendor. I learned quite a few things from Workshop, mainly about pricing and sales. The classes were a big help along with our old-mine-storefrontvisit to 302, Stuller’s in-house model retail store. It helped us visualize how to stage our jewelry in our store. I must say that I didn’t expect to have lunch provided every day and it is not just a sandwich box lunch. Also, the dinner party was quite a surprise. That helped with expenses and also with making friends, networking and learning from other jewelers.

I have been well since the event as I continue to learn and implement the strategies and pricing knowledge I learned from Workshop. This new store of ours is an uncharted venture, and topics I learned about at Workshop have helped us move forward and grow as a business.




My Workshop Experience – Joy Allen

Meet Joy Allen

Joy Allen and her fiance

Joy Allen and her fiancé

I grew up in a large active family, very involved in sports and our community. My passion for jewelry started when I was young. Around the age of ten years, I started making beaded jewelry. And as I grew so did my skills and love for jewelry. Toward the end of high school, I learned about Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology. Not long after I visited the school, I knew that was the place for me.

Joy’s Jewelry Student Journey

When I first started at TIJT, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. For the first couple of weeks, all I touched was a hand file and a saw. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Aren’t I supposed to be learning to make jewelry?” Little did I know that what I was learning was a very valuable skill. The Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology is a well-rounded program that has given me a solid basic knowledge of jewelry making. I have learned everything from polishing, soldering, and casting to fabrication, stone setting, some hand engraving, and laser welding skills.

Initially, we learned about different tools that we would use daily. As I was going through my tools, I noticed a pattern: many of our tools came from Stuller, which sparked several questions. Soon, I was informed about Stuller’s Bench Jeweler Workshop and all it had to offer. As the semester went on, my professors promoted the workshop and suggested that all students should attend.

Joy Allen First Engraved Piece

My first hand engraved piece

Joy Allen First Pave Piece

My first pave

Joining Bench Jeweler Workshop

After hearing my professor talk about the workshop frequently, I did some of my own research and decided that it would be beneficial for me attend. Before coming to the Stuller workshop, I had imagined learning about different tools and techniques and about the facility. However, I was blown away by the magnitude of what I experienced.

Joy Allen Custom Matrix Design

A basket pendant I designed with Matrix

I took a couple of the classes offered and learned about new products and the best way to use them. I was truly amazed during the tour of the facility with the many different production rooms. I especially enjoyed seeing all of the jewelers set up with their benches in the main area of the workshop and getting to watch different ones use their refined skills. Being a visual learner, it was great to be able to watch the jewelers work and observe various ways to handle different tools for the best outcome.

I would encourage any jeweler or jewelry student to attend the Stuller workshop. There was much to learn and benefit from to become a better jeweler. It is set up in a tasteful way with a great schedule, allowing you to take classes, watch different jewelers, eat lunch with other people attending, and have a great time!

What an Experience!

stuller_award_joy

Joy Allen and her Stuller Excellence Award

Attending the workshop as a student was very beneficial, and it was a great opportunity to learn and be inspired. I saw that jewelry could go in many directions, and there were many beautiful skills to strive to have. Going to the workshop enhanced my love for jewelry and inspired me to become a better student. It challenged me in several different ways and also encouraged me as a student.

Since the workshop, I received the Stuller Excellence Award for my hard work. Upon graduating from Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology, I quickly began my job search. In September, I started my first job as a jeweler in College Station, Texas; and I love it!

Through each aspect of Stuller, from tools and production to jewelry at its finest, the characteristics that impacted me the most were hard work and attention to detail. Daily, I strive to work hard and pay attention to detail, just as Stuller displayed.